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Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

The riveting, mega-bestselling, beloved and highly acclaimed memoir of a man, a vocation, and an era named one of the ten best nonfiction titles of the year by Time and Entertainment Weekly. In the... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Born Standing UP

This book is really good. Very interesting and has some funny things about Steve Martin in it. If you are a fan, buy it.

Refreshingly candid & heartfelt

With a number of hit movies under his belt, it's almost easy to forget that Steve Martin first earned fame doing stand-up comedy. In the late 1970's he was selling out large arenas, appearing regularly on Saturday Night Live and the Tonight Show, and spinning platinum comedy albums excerpted from his act. He made it look easy and was wildly successful until he walked away in the early 80's. In this book, he takes a look back at the path that led him toward all that fame. While he begins with childhood, he limits himself to events that were formative to his career. The narration is honest and concise. Whether he talks about failures in himself or others, he adopts a matter-of-fact tone that deftly avoids dips into self-pity or bitterness. As the book continues, we learn all of his major stepping stones from Disneyland to the Bird Cage theater at Knotts Berry Farm, and so on. Martin traveled a winding road to stand-up success and is brutally honest about how much he had to learn for so long early in his career. Yet, with each step, you can see the progress as he figures out how to create his own unique comedy voice and make it work. There are many things that could be said in favor of "Born Standing Up." From my perspective the most important are these two. First, I felt like I knew Steve Martin better when I finished reading than when I started. That may seem an obvious result of any biography but it can only be said if the author is genuinely candid. The second thing is that I both like and respect him more as a result. Not because he paints a perfect picture of himself, but because he is honest about his shortcomings and how he dealt with them. It was a true pleasure to spend this time in his company and I hope he writes a sequel someday covering the experiences of his movie career.

The Audio Version of Born Standing Up is an Absolute Treat!

On a bit of a whim, I bought the audiobook version of Born Standing Up and thought it was superb. Because it is narrated by Steve Martin himself, the jokes and gags in the book absolutely come alive with hilarious result such that I couldn't imagine reading this book in print. In short, buy the audiobook and treat yourself to a great story about a creative, thoughtful, talented, and truly funny man. You would have to be a grouch not to enjoy it!

Good book

You are not going to learn everything about Steve Martin. This is more like sitting with Steve Martin in a bar and him telling you a story. Its a gift really, some guy sits down and tells you he was once the biggest comic in the world. As you listen to the story he goes off on a little tangent once in a while but it is a nice conversation and when you finish you realize you might have just met the smartest guy you may ever know.

Born to write ... anything

I think Steve Martin is the closest thing to a "Renaissance Man" that our recent times has produced: he acts, he's funny, he writes like a dream, he's witty - and I mean that in the truest sense - and his timing and poise are rare these days in an artist. He is a truly modest man with (to borrow a phrase from Winston Churchill) much to NOT be modest about. And yet, he is. Having said that, I just finished "Born Standing Up" and, throughout the whole book, I laughed, I cried, I sat nodding in perfect understanding of what he wrote about the creative process and its accompanying fears and joys (I, too, am a writer). But there were certain times in the book during which I merely SAT and absorbed his carefully-turned phrases, his "just right" words, his perfect images, not overblown, not overdone but ... just right. This is an intimate look at a private man; it contains the right degree of balance and revelation. I don't need to know every "down and dirty" detail of someone famous and their life or who they slept with on their way up. Likewise, Mr. Martin feels no need to tell a reader all that stuff; that's his business. But what he does reveal in this graceful memoir underlines his basic ordinariness and decency as a human being, while at the same time demonstrating the talents that made him so successful. It also clearly demonstrates to anyone - be they writer, musician or comedian - that there is no such thing as an "overnight success". A "success" is only achieved after years of hard, hard work; most don't make it. Mr. Martin did - and, as I sat reading and remembering (and, yes, replaying his CDs in my car on the way home from work the last few days) - I silently thanked him for his genius, his literary skills and - of course - his comic talents. He's made my world, at least, a brighter place for many, many years.

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life Mentions in Our Blog

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life in Mini Gift Guide
Mini Gift Guide
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • November 13, 2022

Choosing the perfect gifts for the diverse mix of people we know can be tricky. That's why in addition to our full gift guides, we're putting out a set of mini gift guides with recommendations for all the individuals in your life. Here are some of our favorite picks for our funny and comedy-loving friends.

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